China’s press watchdog has issued new rules restricting government-approved press cards to genuine journalists. Not too soon. The whole system had become a farce.
The General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), in a circular on its website, banned anyone with a criminal record and staff outside of news departments in media organizations from applying for press cards. Which means the advertising departments and the tea lady will have to do without.
The GAPP issues press cards — small booklets with the journalist’s photo, organization and identification information — to registered journalists to approved domestic media organizations.
About 120,000 people hold official press cards, which entitle the bearer to receive prioritized arrangements in transportation and accommodation, among others.
The GAPP ordered media organizations to limit press card applications to their reporters and editors and to exclude administration, logistics, advertising and engineering staff. Damn right.
Staff in other organizations who provide information to media organizations and guest writers are also banned from applying, according to the GAPP. That takes care of the PR industry.
China View says the GAPP plans to issue new press cards with more anti-counterfeit features and a new standardized brown cover. The existing cards have blue covers, except those of Xinhua journalists, which are red.